"Well, that was interesting." said Aldrith Shutaq, CEO of the Knighthood of the Merciful Crown, as he tugged his robe off and handed it over to an attendant.
The pair of them had been invited to meet up with Eran Mintor and some of his new corp mates somewhere in Minmatar space at The Haudenosuanee. Shalee had mistakingly assumed Eran was asking her to meet him somewhere private. A romantic date for two. How surprised she'd been when she arrived just behind Aldrith. And to make matters worse, Eran's ex, Sophie Starsparrow was there. Drinking, laughing, and flirting with him. She tolerated the little get together through gritted teeth, not wanting to make a scene for once. She stayed as long as she could tolerate and used Aldrith's leaving as an excuse to leave as well, knowing that Eran probably wanted her to stay longer.
She had said nothing on the interbus ride back to Empire space.
Shalee merely nodded as she pulled her own robe off and nearly slung it at the attendant. She was in a surly mood.
"Have to be careful though," he continued, oblivious to her emotions. "Though I think we made a good impression on the Matari, I did not quite intend on indulging in their traditions so much." They had offered Aldrith an herbal cigarette and ended up getting him high without him realizing what they'd even done.
Unseen to the pair, Math'ra Hiede made his way over to the fireplace and took a seat.
Shalee rolled her her eyes, "Why ever do you care? And what is wrong with you anyhow?"
Aldrith continued, talking as if he hadn't even heard her, "And that thing Sophie gave me was absolutely delicious though... I'm not sure why I became so hungry so suddenly..."
She stared incredulously at him, on the verge of exploding.
He dusted a bit of snow off of his shoulder, still not recognizing Shalee's mood. "Every friend we can make is a valuable one. You of all people should recognize that."
"Friend?" She threw her hands up in the air, completely frustrated, "They are no friend to us. You think for one moment they wouldn't shoot us down if we didn't know Eran? And furthermore, why didn't you stop me? Why. It was your job as my CEO to tell me it was a fucking bad idea to get involved with Eran, but no you encouraged it! He is a Minmatar!" Since Eran wasn't there, Aldrith was going to get the worst of her anger.
Over in the corner, Math'ra Hiede attempted to ignore Shalee's fury, trying to blend in with the shadows as much as possible.
"I mean, for God's sake Aldrith. What were you thinking? And tonight? Sitting there among them, smoking with them! What would Mitara think of that!"
Aldrith Shutaq looked up at her in mid-pat, his expression like that of someone who had just been slapped across the face by a stranger. "What?"
"When I was in PIE, do you think for one moment they would let me talk to someone like Eran? Much less encourage it! He's going to leave anyhow, it was all for nothing. All of it, everything is for nothing. At the end of the day, he's right back where he started from. Flying with Sophie Star-fucking-sparrow. With the god damned Minmatar terrorists. I don't care what you or he says about any of it. They are not our friends. And FURTHERMORE. The nerve of you inviting her here! This is my home!" she started to pace, "You can't trust the Minmatar. You can't trust a goddamned pirate either. You cant trust anyone! And I don't want that little Veto girl hanging around here anymore either. She is a pirate. She doesn't deserve to step foot in this place."
Ninnuma entered the main hall and stopped mid-step, hearing Shalee. As quietly as possible she made her way over to a shadowy corner and slid into a seat.
Aldrith stared at her a moment, one eye narrowing as though he were looking at some bizarre, hostile animal. "You cannot be serious. What has gotten into you?"
She ignored him as she paced, "And the nerve of him. Inviting me there without even telling me he is leaving the corp so soon. Just an invitation to come see him! And SHE was there! The nerve of it! And the way they got you to smoke! They knew you didn't know what that was. They were making a fool of you. AND." She doesn't even take a breath as she paces back and forth, ranting, changing subjects at whim because everything was irritating her, "Verone acting so high and mighty and noble on the god damned IGS. Who does he think he is, acting like some noble saint. When all he cares about is that people live so he can rob them blind."
Aldrith Shutaq continued to stare at her.
Ninnuma cleared her throat "I take the Mintor Situation has resolved itself then."
She stomped her foot like some petulant child, "How dare he take me there in front of her. How dare he." Her head turned at the sound, realizing she wasn't alone with Aldrith and fell eerily silent.
Aldrith looked to the fire, completely confused, then glanced at Ninnuma. "Good evening Ninnuma..."
From the shadowy corner, Vincent Pryce, a member of VETO, removed the black hood off his priests robes and smiled, "Such anger, Cherry Pie."
Aldrith straightened and looked back to Shalee, thankfully not noticing Vincent. "Perhaps we should discuss this in private."
Math'ra Hiede looked mildly surprised as Vince appeared, his hand twitching slightly at the visage.
A gust of cold frosty air followed Eran Mintor into the main hall. He stopped short of everyone and looked to Shalee, forcing a confident smile before noticing Vincent. He frowned suddenly.
"What are you doing here? You shouldn't be here. You should be at the Gate with your ilk." Shalee said with annoyance. Vincent would suffer her wrath that was directed at Verone, simply because he was there and Verone was not.
Aldrith Shutaq stared at Shalee a long moment, something in his eyes breaking as he recalled the voice that had just spoken. His head turned very slowly to its source.
Vincent stood, smiling softly, "As I remember, 'twas you who asked me to visit someday, Cherry Pie."
"You." Aldrith said sharply.
"Hello, Aldrith. Long time no see. Been burning to meet you again." he winked playfully.
Eran scowled at Vincent.
Math'ra Hiede stood very slowly, not giving himself away before moving slightly closer to Aldrith, well within rapid grabbing distance, his stance poised if anyone had been acute enough to notice him.
"Hello, madman." Eran said.
Vincent nodded to Eran, smiling "Valklear General."
She jutted up her chin arrogantly, "That was before, when I was a naive and gullible little fool."
Eran crossed his arms and snarled.
Aldrith turned fully to face him, a dull, hateful fire having been lit in his eyes. He began a slow advance towards Vincent.
"Now lets not get carried away here," Mathra said.
Aldrith completely ignored Math'ra and walked steadily towards Vincent.
Vincent stepped closer to Shalee smiling "Oh... Such spiteful words, Cherry Pie. So much changed in a few days then? I am not welcome here anymore but you will gladly sleep in my bed?"
Math'ra closed the space between himself and Aldrith from behind and clamped a very firm hand against his shoulder, "Don't."
"As long as you are a pirate, no. If you have come here to repent your wicked ways, then maybe we can talk," she said.
Aldrith snapped at the word 'bed' and lunged towards Vincent.
Math'ra grunted and wrenched on Aldrith, attempting to smother him in a bear hug, keeping him from reaching Vincent.
Eran stepped forward, interceding between the two, arms folded, expression guarded.
Aldrith snarled, "Get off of me you idiot!"
"Who says I have not?" Vince said to her as he stepped backwards.
"You're lying," she said to the pirate, just before moving over to Mathra, shoving her hands against his arm, "Let him go!"
Eran whispered to Aldrith, "Let me do the dirty deed...." He slanted his gaze to Vince, "What's your business here?" he asked as he placed himself in front of Aldrith, blocking Vince from everyone else.
"I'll have the guards shoot you!" Aldrith yelled as he tried to wretch his arm away from Math'ra's hold.
"Don't... you don't want this," Mathra said, warning Aldrith.
"I came to see my friend, and seek..."Vincent said as he bit his lip, looking to Shalee . "...redemption."
"Filthy liar!" Aldrith yelled.
"I can only speak for myself, but you are not welcome here by me.....I advise you leave...." Eran warned.
Vince nodded slowly to Eran "As you wish, Valklear General and congratulations on the happy occasion." he turned to walk to the exit.
Shalee threw a sloppy punch to Mathra's jaw, barely hitting him as he pulled his head out of the way, "LET. HIM. GO." she screamed.
"Sociopathic monster... here. How dare he?!" Aldrith stopped struggling as Vincent neared the exit and said through gritted teeth, "How dare he... and how dare you, Math'ra!"
Vincent smiled by the door and winked to Shalee "...See ya later, Cherry Pie." he smiled to Aldrith and tapped the same eye he burned out on his side "Good seeing you, Shutaq. I can see you were burning with delight meeting me again. Have a pleasant evening..." he chuckled on his way, vanishing into the falling snow.
Later, she scribbled in her journal as Eran slept.
He came home though a part of me thought he might stay there with her. He looked so happy, so completely in his element that for the first time I realized how truly miserable he has been in the Amarr militia.
He doesn't belong here, and never has. I guess he really does believe those things he says, the things about Shakor and every other excuse he has given to the public for joining the Knighthood. Maybe it was all true and I really was never a factor at all. I just assumed it was for me but now that he has gone, I can't help but wonder why I even thought that. If he came here for me, he would have stayed for me. It's really that simple.
But now he flies with 'her'. Now his time and passion is given to her and their cause and I get what's left over.
And to make matters worse, Vincent was here. I invited him ages ago and only now he shows up. Aldrith would have killed him if Mathra hadn't been there to stop him. I wonder what Eran would have done had there been blows? He is no fan of Vincent, but he didn't seem so keen on doing anything to him other than ordering him to leave.
Everything is wrong. I spend more time flying with a stranger than I do with the man who wants to marry me. I can no longer deny the truth of my 'friends'. I wonder what else Vincent might have insinuated tonight had he not left. No doubt he wanted to leave the impression that something happened in his bed the other night, which of course it did not.
Everything is all wrong and I just have this sinking feeling that it's about to get a lot, lot worse...